Scuba diving the Red Sea had always seemed nearly impossible. It was faraway, expensive and, let’s be honest, seemed a little dicey. However, when opportunity knocks, you open the door, and when a friend called with a plan to charter an entire boat and dive the Red Sea, the D&C said yes. In the end we did not manage to fill up the whole boat, but it was close enough, and we got to meet some cool new people in the process. Win-win.
The motto emblazoned on their license plates isn’t overselling it, Bonaire really is a diver’s paradise, specifically, a shore diver’s paradise. First however, a little context.
Bonaire is the easternmost of the ABC islands and is essentially part of the Netherlands, expect wheels of gouda cheese (not kidding) to be found in the most surprising places. The upshot/downside (depending on your point of view), is the strong European influence and the presence of a very clean, large and rather well stocked super market, the Van Der Tweel, where on some days, you can find (in the parking lot, sold from the back of a modified Land Rover) a perhaps famous smoked chicken. I don’t know about famous, that’s a claim on the flyer, but I can tell you about delicious, have some if you have the chance.
Excuse the slightly juvenile double entendre, but it can’t always be arthurian lore and Jewish mysticism you know. BTW, guess what, we were in Bonaire…
Everything was perfect that day. It was my birthday, I was in the tropics rather than the frigid north (at that time in the grips of an ice storm), I had the best buddy divers with me and a pick-up truck (did you know they are called “utes” in Australia? Me neither). There really aren’t many ways to top that.
I sort of hesitated to bring up Pulmo in the first place. In a selfish way, I kind of wish it does not become too popular. It is not for everybody and I hope it stays that way. For example, we met a couple on the beach that were up from Cabo San Lucas, where they have been staying at the Hilton for the past 14 seasons, and they looked completely lost. You could tell they were wondering why would anyone want to come here. Their loss. The place has a wild feel about it, even if a born and raised Pulmo boat captain told us it was “muy tranquilo”.
Following the thrill of swimming with a whale shark, we were pretty pumped about scuba diving in La Paz. After talking to the very pleasant Cécile at the front desk, we booked with Phocéa Mexico, a large (three shops in Mexico), well staffed and well equipped shop, that had been recommended by another diver (gotta love diver word of mouth). No mental alarms going off here. Yes I left a sticker.